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95 2d si°ssfo r n SS } COMMITTEE PRINT 












Printed for the use of the Committee on Governmental Affairs 

35-264 WASHINGTON : 1978 


ABRAHAM RIBICOFF, Connecticut, Chairman 

HENRY M. JACKSON, Washington CHARLES H. PERCY, Illinois 


THOMAS F. EAGLETON, Missouri WILLIAM V. ROTH, Jr., Delaware 


SAM NUNN, Georgia CHARLES McC. MATHIAS, Jr., Maryland 


JIM SASSER, Tennessee H. JOHN HEINZ III, Pennsylvania 

Richard A. Wegman, Chief Counsel and Staff Director 

Paul Hoff, Counsel Ellen S. Miller, Professional Staff Member 

Eli E. Nobleman, Counsel Theodore J. Jacobs, Counsel 

Paul C. Rosenthal, Counsel James M. Graham, Counsel 

Ira S. Shapiro, Counsel Ethei. Z. Geisinger, Professional Staff 

Claude E. Barfield, Professional Staff Member 

Claudia T. Ingram, Professional Staff 


Marilyn A. Harris, Executive Administrator and Professional Staff Member 

Elizabeth A. Preast, Chief Clerk 

John B. Childers, Minority Staff Director 

Brian Conboy, Special Counsel to the Minority 

Constance B. Evans, Counsel to the Minority 

Harold C. Anderson, Staff Editor 

Governmental Efficiency and the District of Columbia 

THOMAS F. EAGLETON, Missouri, Chairman 

Hadley R. Roff, Staff Director 
Rex R. Krakaueb, Counsel 



U.S. Senate, 
Committee ox Governmental Affairs, 
Subcommittee on Governmental Efficiency 

and the District of Columbia, 
Washington, D.C., November 1, 1978, 
Hon. Abraham Ribicoff, 
Chairman, Committee on Governmental Affairs. 

Dear Mr. Chairman: The Subcommittee on Governmental 
Efficiency and the District of Columbia has asked the Congressional 
Research Service to undertake a comprehensive study of the Potomac 
Basin. The basin is a precious historic resource, and the Subcommittee 
believes that its preservation and enhancement is of vital national 
concern. Attached is CRS first report on the scope and substance of 
the study, and I respectfully request that it be issued as a committee 
print so that it can serve as the basis for discussion in the furtherance 
of the study. 


Thomas F. Eagleton, 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 

The Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service, 

Washington, D.C., September 10, 1078. 
Hon. Thomas F. Eagletox, 
Chairman, Subcommittee on Governmental Efficiency and the District of 

Committee on Governmental Affairs, 
Washington, D.C. 

Dear Senator Eagletox: I am pleased to submit this plan for a 
review of Potomac Basin Research by the Congressional Research 

As we have agreed, we shall submit individual reports to yo\\ under 
this general plan as they are completed. 

The project will be under the direction of Dr. Franklin P. Huddle, 
senior specialist for science and technology. 

We are grateful for this opportunity you have afforded us in your 
joint request, to undertake a new enterprise in congressional service — 
a substantial, protracted, multidisciplinary examination of the prob- 
lems and opportunities of a large geographic region having as a com- 
mon and shared resource one of the major rivers of the United States. 
The relevance of this river to the Congress is threefold: first, as a 
major geographical entity under congressional jurisdiction; second, 
as a potential model for legislative and administrative concern 
nationwide; and third, as an area surrounding and intimately related 
to the National Capital. 

It will be instructive to see whether this study can identify the 
shared goals and objectives of the people who live in this geographical 
area; whether the lessons learned in this study will be pertinent to 
other river basins and to the United States generally; and whether 
the findings of the study can generate interest and support of the 
inhabitants of the Potomac Basin in concerted efforts toward their 
shared goals. 

In any event, whether limited in application or broadly applicable, 
this is an interesting assignment and one that will be pursued with 


Gilbert Gude 




This is a response by the Congressional Research Service to a 
challenge from the U.S. Congress: can CRS address itself to the 
analysis of policies and provisions affecting the people and the resources 
of a major river basin, from the downstream metropolis and its suburbs 
to the upstream heartland? 

What is proposed in this initial study is a methodology, a scope of 
analysis, and an outline of a series of reports all relating to the inter- 
action of Congressional legislation with the people, the water, the land, 
and the economic activities of the Potomac River Basin. 

Of particular note is the fact that the geographic area in question is 
the subject of study and shared jurisdiction of the Federal Govern- 
ment with the Governments of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, 
West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. In turn, these several 
States share jurisdiction with their contained counties, cities, towns, 
and lesser political subdivisions. 

Among the salient questions to be explored in the study will be such 
matters as the following: What will the Basin be like in another 
century if no change is made in its processes of management and use? 
What changes do the people of the Basin desire, and are they frus- 
trated in the achievement of these desired changes? What are the 
actual and potential resources of the Basin that could afford oppor- 
tunities for betterment to the people of the Basin, and how might 
their development be enhanced? What conflicts and tensions are 
implicit in the answers to these questions, and what options are avail- 
able to mediate them? 

It is important to recognize that there have been many studies in 
the past of the Potomac Basin, its subordinate parts, and such subject 
areas as soil and water management, fishery, forestry, agriculture, 
recreation, and many other elements. Review and assessment of past 
studies is necessary to provide foundation for further data collection 
and analysis. The ultimate product of the effort should be a more 
comprehensive identification of options and opportunities, to enable 
the Congress, in consultation with the people of the Basin, to make 
wise choices as to the future course to be followed. There should be no 
foregone conclusions, here; if some options are for change in direction 
or level of effort, at least one option should be to leave things alone. 
But no particular course should be assumed in advance. 




Letter of transmittal III 

Letter of submittal V 


I. Introduction 1 

Why is another Potomac study needed 1 

Importance of the problem 2 

Some suggested concerns of the Congress 2 

Definitions of some principal terms 3 

Technologjr 4 

Political and social 4 

Resources and reserves 4 

Scope and limitation of the study 5 

Elements to be studied 5 

Possible consequences of the proposed CRS study 6 

Plan for the prospectus 6 

II. Background of the Study 7 

Past legislative enactments on Potomac matters 7 

Congressional mandated studies of the basin 8 

Statutes and programs applicable to the region 9 

III. The Present Status of the Potomac Basin 10 

Present resources of the Potomac Basin 10 

Complexities and variations confronting the analyst 10 

Actors, actions, and rates of change 11 

Apparent future prospects for the basin 11 

IV. Organization of the Proposed Study 13 

Toward objectives for the Potomac Basin 13 

Futures for the Potomac Basin 13 

Modern trends in regional planning 13 

Preservation of natural beauty ; compatibility of human structures _ 14 

Past plans for the Potomac 14 

Present Potomac planners 15 

Overview and commentary on issues of the Potomac Basin 15 

An inventory of Federal, State, and selected local laws affecting 

the Potomac Basin 16 

A compendium of Federal laws and constitutional cases defining 

present authorities and policies of the Federal Government 

toward water, land resources, and human activities and their 

management in river basins 16 

Programs of Federal departments and agencies affecting the 

Potomac Basin 16 

The history of the Potomac and its basin 17 

Impacts of water quality on the quality of life 17 

Geologic resources of the Potomac Drainage Basin 17 

Fish, crabs, oysters, and other valuables 18 

Agriculture in the basin 18 

Forests and forestry in the basin 19 

Recreation and entertainment, along the river and in the basin _ 19 

What strands tie the basin together 20 

Who are the people and what do they want 20 

Impacts of man; structures, industries and sprawl 21 

What are the options in the total management of the basin 21 

What are the costs, who pays them, and what do they get in 

return 22 

What rewards accrue to the entire Nation from a well-planned 

river basin program 22 

Step by step approaches to basin betterment 23 

35-264—78 2 


V. Plan for a Final Report 24 

Format of final report, CRS Potomac Basin study 24 

Proposed cross-cutting studies 24 

Data base for planning 24 

Implications for the future 24 

Opportunities, dangers, motivations 24 

Issues to be resolved 25 

Legislative and administrative options 25 

Priorities of the public and the experts 25 

VI. Elements of an Action Plan for the Potomac Basin 26 



The purpose of this study is to respond to a request jointly addressed 
to the Congressional Research Service by Senators Thomas F. Eagleton 
and Charles McC. Mathias, Jr. The request specified that CRS 
should — 

Examine the circumstances that make the Potomac a 
wasting resource, ascertain the forces that operate to improve 
or worsen its social value, and identify longrange legislative 
initiatives to coalesce and activate the forces for its 
betterment. 1 

The Eagle ton-Mat hi as letter went on to suggest a longrange objec- 
tive that they sought to achieve by this initiative. It was: 

To set in train a process that could operate for a century, 
steadily improving the entire Potomac Basin from head- 
waters to estuary, toward the goal of a clean and living symbol 
of beauty and environmental quality for all the Nation to 
enjoy. 2 

Implicit in the request was the further concept that the Potomac 
Basin should become a practical demonstration that commercial utility 
can be sustained in a region without impairment of esthetic values and 
that a technological approach to the balanced management of a river 
basin can be made politically acceptable and socially desirable. 

Why Is Another Potomac Study Needed? 

Over the years an extraordinary number of studies have been con- 
ducted of the Potomac River and its drainage basin. The geographic 
proximity of the river to the National Capital lends it particular 
salience and has caused much attention to be given to its present 
condition and future prospects. Accordingly the question is appropri- 
ate: What purpose is served by yet another study? One purpose of 
this prospectus is to answer that question. However, a short answer 
would be about as follows : 

Despite the many studies of the Potomac River Basin, the dynamics 
of the political, economic, and technological condition of the region 
has not markedly changed in response to the findings or recommenda- 
tions of these many studies. What obstacles are encountered by efforts 
at implementation? Are the studies themselves defective or incom- 
plete? Is it possible to approach the subject with more of an action 
orientation? Can aspirations and preferences of the various groups 
within the region be constructively reconciled? Are there serious and 
real new technological threats or neglected opportunities to be recog- 
nized and dealt with? Is there a real danger that a continued^and 

1 Letter to Director Gude dated May 20, 1977, p. 1. Full text of the letter and of Mr. 
Glide's reply, dated May 27, are presented as appendix A to this study. 
1 Ibid., p. 1. 


studied course of inaction — "benign neglect" — might lead, bit by bit, 
to an irreversible condition of environmental or economic catastrophe? 
Conversely, are there signal advantages to be gained by a program of 
small, systematic, persistent actions? How can the lessons of the many 
studies of the Potomac Basin be supplemented by a dynamic, respon- 
sive attitude on the part of the inhabitants of the basin and their 
political representatives at all levels of government? 

Importance of the problem 

One aspect of the Potomac Basin that makes it of importance to 
the Congress derives from the fact that it is the locality surrounding 
the Nation's Capital, and the leading political center of the democratic 
world. This prestigious situation, it is suggested, carries with it the 
obligation to maintain a clean, healthy, esthetically satisfying city. But 
the city cannot achieve these qualities if they are not also maintained 
in the outskirts, the environs, and the surrounding States. The entire 
Potomac Basin, as the setting for the National Capital, requires con- 
ditions that sustain a healthy, happy, productive livelihood for all its 

Then too, the United States is generally viewed as possessing two 
great skills: of technological expertise and political-administrative 
management. But neither of these two valued attributes is now mani- 
fest in the present condition of the river and its drainage system. 

A third point is that each year millions of tourists and school children 
make the pilgrimage to the Capital City of the United States, where 
they ought to find a universally high standard of excellence in the 
management of the environment, as a part of the general education 
in citizenship that is their purpose in visiting the National Capital. 

Fourth, an important and central segment of the National govern- 
ment is located in the District of Columbia and such nearby localities 
as Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County on the Virginia side of 
the Potomac and Montgomery and Prince George Counties on the 
Maryland side. It would seem important that the Members and staff, 
of the Congress, and the civil servants of the National Government 
had before them at all times a practical demonstration of respect for 
nature and for man's relation to nature. 

Some suggested concerns of the Congress 

The preceding section identified a number of ways in which the con" 
dition of the Potomac Basin might warrant congressional attention- 
In a recent letter to the Congressional Research Service, a long-time 
student of Potomac Basin conditions and opportunities offered the 
following expansion of this theme: 

Congress holds two types of influence over the Potomac. One aspect 
is true of river basins nationwide, and one is unique to the Potomac. 
The former influence stems from the type of approach which charac- 
terizes most resource management and human services legislation. 
Because the implementation of U.S. laws falls under the Executive 
Branch of the government and not the Legislators themselves, the 
mandates are usually the responsibility of a single federal agency. 
Responsible agencv energy, naturally, goes into nil filling its specific 
responsibilities (which are often considerable, and frequently must be 
administered within tight, time frameworks and financial uncertain- 
ties). There is little emphasis upon coordination of that particular 

legislative mandate with other related programs. The result is waste- 
ful duplication between program efforts, and serious gaps between 
programs which lie unaddressed. We end up with the least information 
where we need the most, namely, about the interfaces between methods 
for managing individual resources and the different human sen 
Beyond providing an oversimplified picture oi* program management, 
the narrowly mandated programs also serve as a convenient hiding 
place for agencies who skirt difficult questions by retorting, "That's 
not our responsibility." 

Thus the very nature of our single purpose legislation tends to create 
an implementation atmosphere counterproductive to the best use of 
resources and to the most effective management of the dollars and 
manpower available for their development and for the provision of 
other human services. 

The unique influence imposed by Congress on the Potomac is its 
presence here in the national capital. This, again, has two results. 
First, the Potomac thereby becomes of potential political interest to 
every Congressman as well as the White House, a distinction shared 
by few other natural resources in the nation. Secondly, because 
Congress maintains the headquarters of many federal agencies in D.C., 
a whole additional level of government is involved in all decision- 
making processes. "National" becomes superimposed upon the normal 
pattern of local, state and regional. 

Definitions of Some Principal Terms 

The central theme of the proposed stwly is the development and 
management of a particular region of the United States, the drainage 
basin of the Potomac River. The concept of a geographic "region" is 
that it is an area possessing some particular unifying feature, in the 
present instance a single common drainage through the Potomac 
River into the Chesapeake Bay. 

The region, while possessing in common the drainage feature, can be 
further subdivided into four main sub-regions: (1) the main tidewater 
river that flows past the District of Columbia, between Maryland and 
Virginia; (2) the upper main stem, with its tumultuous Great Falls, 
its many islands, wooded banks, rocky ripples, wide shallows, and dee]) 
channels, until it terminates upstream at the spectacular division of 
its flow at Harper's Ferry; (3) the winding Shenandoah River, draining 
that historic valley to the south; and (4) the mountainous northwestern 
region, together with a small portion of the Appalachian Plateau, that 
drains territory of four States, as its several rivers cut through a 
succession of north-south ridges, before joining with the southern 
branch to cut through the last barrier in the Blue Ridge. (See map.) 


Implicit in the terms "management" or "development" of a region 
is the application of technology to a geographic entity. In this usage, 
the term "technology" means more than tools. It encompasses not 
only physical structures and hardware, but also social inventions and 
organizational processes. It is man cooperating purposefully and 
systemically with nature for beneficial and sustainable social and 
political goals. 

Political and Social 
The distinction between the two adjectives "political" and "social" 
for purposes of the study is that the former refers to governmental 
functions and attributes while "social" refers to non-governmental 
group activities, organizations, and interests. 

Resources and Reserves 

Contemporary usage in the field of minerals distinguishes "reserves" 
from "resources" in that the former are capable of being exploited 
economically with present economic conditions while the latter require 
changed economic conditions in order to be exploited economically. 
Resources are potentially useful, while reserves are immediately of 

This distinction is not observed in agriculture and forestry where the 
term "resource" is more loosely applied to all soils and forest growth. 
The abandonment of the distinction is caused by the fact that eco- 

nomic development depends much more on individual management of 
farms and woodlots. Accordingly, in the discussion of mineral value 
in the Potomac Basin, reserves will be distinguished from resources, 
but not in discussion of other natural values. 

Scope and limitation of the study 

The study is to address the Potomac River Basin and its develop- 
ment. It does not address geographic areas outside of the Basin. 

The focus of the study is on future opportunities and actions to 
realize them; an important part of the present study will be the review 
of the many past studies which have also had this focus. Particular 
attention will be given to an examination of the feasibility of past 
recommendations. Development implies both economic and social 
betterment, and both social and political organization in the applica- 
tion of technology to resources and reserves. Here, too, past efforts at 
development — both public and private — are of interest in the present 
study; historical events generally are of interest both intrinsically as a 
part of the culture of the Basin and as an indication of past efforts 
to exploit the resources and reserves of the Basin. 

It is recognized that there are many current issues that are being 
urgently called to the attention of the Congress, and in which positions 
taken by different sectors of the Basin's people are at sometime em- 
phatic variance. For example, an assured supply of potable water for 
the metropolitan area of the District of Columbia, methods for 
attacking point-source and diffused source pollution, the preservation 
of agriculture or forestry or open spaces in the upper Basin, resolving 
competition for the estuary's shoreline and its resources and finding 
locally acceptable resolution of the competition for upstream shore- 
lines, resolving conflicts among competing programs of Federal 
agencies, and — perhaps a little later on the issue of attention to ground 
water resources in the Basin. 

While it is recognized that these are all legitimate and pressing 
concerns, the study does not propose to meet them head on, but rather 
to develop a solid factual data base and a set of applicable resource 
management principles relative to the Potomac Basin to assist the 
interested parties in achieving agreement on preferred options in these 

Elements to be studied 

In a systematic approach to the study of the Potomac Basin and 
the problems of its development, attention must be addressed to the 
physical configuration, and to the component subsystems or sub- 
regions. Such questions as the following need to be considered and 
analyzed : 

What objectives should be sought in Potomac Basin develop- 

How do the people who dwell in the various regions of the Basin 
view the question of its development? 

What are the resources and means of development? 
What planning has there been in the past, and with what 

What obstacles stand in the way of development of the Basin 
and how might they be overcome? 

What are the likely consequences of neglecting to examine 
these questions? 


The concept to be followed is that there are four large and important 
subregions of the Potomac Basin, each with its own set of resources, 
concerns, and objectives; and that there are important interactions 
among these four districts that need to be defined, accommodated, 
and sometimes compromised. 

Possible consequences of the proposed CBS study 

The concept is that a systematic series of individual studies, each 
desirable and useful in itself but also serving as building blocks in a 
larger and more comprehensive study, ought to yield many worthwhile 

At very least, the composite study should help decisionmakers at 
Federal, State, and local levels to ask the right questions in making 
plans for the future of the Potomac Basin. 

Each of the individual studies should provide a coherent collection 
of basic data and analyses of some important aspect of the Potomac 

The study as a whole should define the essential scope of analysis. 

The study and all its contributing parts, issued to the Congress 
and to the public over a period of years, should motivate attention to 
the question of the future of the Potomac River Basin, of time-phased 
changes likely to occur or to be sought, and of the roles of individuals 
and groups in working out the goals of the region. 

It may be too much to hope for, but it would be gratifying if the 
results of the proposed study helped bring to the people not only of the 
District of Columbia but of the entire Potomac Basin, and indeed of 
the United States, in the words of the Eagleton-Mathias letter, 

A clear river, an esthetically sound and benign environ- 
ment, a safe and healthy recreation facility, and an assured 
quality of potable water. 3 

Plan for the prospectus 

The rest of this prospectus will consider in sequence the background 
and the present status of the region, the mobilizing of professional 
expertise to contribute the various elements of the study program as 
well as the active seeking out of an input from the people who live in 
the area, a catalog (with commentary) of the separate components of 
the study, and — finally — a few observations as to the requirements 
of an action program for the Potomac Basin. 

8 Ibid., p. 1. 


The primary and statutory "customer" for products of the Con- 
gressional Research S s the Congress iis* 
accessary to demonstrate as justification for such a m udy as is 
here proposed the congressional interest in the subje 
of legislation affecting the region, an i idence of pasl legislation 
serving to pave the way for more comprehensive I m by the 
( Jongress. What does the Con.. ed to know aboul the effe< 
of past legislation affecting the Basin? What are the options for further 
legislative initiatives in the region? How does the treatment of the 
region relate to the interests o: and how do 
actions of the District of Colui pact upon th .is of 
the Potomac Basin — upstr< m? 

Past legislativi i nactrra i t& mac matt* 

In one sense legislation d( Potomac River has run 

concurrently v. i th i'n v history of the Americarj Republic. Indeed, the 
convening of the Constitutional Convention itself grew out oi an 
effort by George Washington to resolve issues of 
equity on the River as a necessary prelic to upstream develop- 

ment. Subsequently, the decision of the ( iongress to lo< iationa] 

Capital athwart the . em of th< I sting 

equences for both the River and the Nation. One I itu e was the 
fact that during th great Civil War the main stem east oi Harper's 
Ferry served, as a boundary between North and South. The names Ball's 
Bluff, Sharpsburg, Harpe rry, reflect this part of the [Nation's 

history. Moreover, unatt* of that conflict, and unresolved 

political dissatisfactions, still linger in remoter upriver parts of the 

it might have been suppos jor river washing tl 

of the governmental center > much legislative 

attention as did the \ bhe ( olumbia, or th< ( olorado. T 

is good evidence aphical diff< 

the past intensify present d .d desires 

Valley's peoples, and hup to account Cor a lack of consensus and a 
posals for Qal River. 

However, wins Cor 

the Potomac River, the river's co tion does qo 

of attention commanded of the d 

is not a vital artery i :e the Ohio. It does not have the 

damaging floods of i. it do priceh ss 

it ion water to pa olorado. ^n^o 

reservoir of electric powe] thePotomac, 

•m its function as a source of potabh . i ans of 

sewage disposal, contributes to the region ; 

less tangible values of recreation, fication, and 

esthetic appeal, in short, the river provides a place to live, a way of 
life. In the past these values have doI usuall} received extei 

35-264—78 3 


Legislative attention. However, one hypothesis of the present study 
is that increasingly in the century to come these values will come to be 
recognized as of greater importance. A second hypothesis is that the 
relation between environmental preservation and human survival 
will become understood as direct and perilously important. 

Over the past two centuries the Congress has had much to do with 
the Potomac River. For much of that time span the legislative con- 
cerns have encompassed small pieces of action: whether to prevent 
Hooding at the Lincoln Memorial, what to do about water hyacinths 
in the backwaters of the estuary, channel dredging and the construc- 
tion of filled land at East and West Potomac Parks, and so on. Only 
a few of the many Potomac studies mandated by the Congress have 
been really comprehensive. More often, too, the studies have involved 
single-agency responsibilities, without the necessary coordination of 
related agencies and functions. The possibility may exist that the 
requirements of the future cannot be met without more purposeful 
and concerted action by the Congress. The possibility may also exist 
•hat an entirely new kind of approach is needed. 

( Congressional mandated studies of the basin 

A separate set of legislative considerations would consist of studies 
ordered or authorized by the Congress to deal with various aspects of 
the Potomac Region. One such study is currently underway, under 
the management of the National Academy of Sciences-National 
Research Council, with the Corps of Engineers as sponsor. The ques- 
tion raised by i\\v Congress that this Academy study will answer is 
whether the water of the Potomac estuary below Little Falls can serve 
lo augment the water supply of the metropolitan area, of the District 
of Columbia. But there have been many other such mandated studies. 
Here the question becomes: what have been the findings of such 
studies, and what actions have resulted? Is it possible to aggregate the 
findings of such studies with a comprehensive picture of the basin? 
What further information is needed in order to provide the basis for 
a comprehensive, workable 4 , and acceptable future plan? 

To the people in the Washington Metropolitan Area the assured 
availability of potable water of reasonable quality is a matter of some 
concern. It is less commanding of public attention upstream in those 
areas where dams have been proposed to impound water for storage 
to raise the low flow of the main stem during dry periods; such pro- 
posals are usually resisted by those upstream. 

A quick review of congressionally mandated studies, as suggested 
by Paul \Y . Eastman, executive director of the Interstate Commission 
on the Potomac River Basin, would emphasize the comprehensive 
studies of the Basin from L932 on. (Earlier studies were restricted in 
geographic or technical scope. I 

A first comprehensive river basin report was that of the Corps of 

neers published as House Document L01, 73rd Congress, 1st 

on, 1934. [ts scope extended to hydro-power, navigation, flood 

control, irrigation, municipal water supply, and park development. 

However, its action recommendations were trivial. 

A second report on the Basin, 12 years later, proposed a system of 
.oils for flood control and water power. 


Another report, in 1963, was mandated by the Senate Committee 
on Public Works instructing the Corps of Engineers to formulate a 
comprehensive plan for "control of floods and developmenl and con- 
servation of the Basin's water and related resources/' And later, the 
Committee amended its instruction to include recreation, conservation 
of municipal water supply, and pollut ion abatement. A comprehensh e 
engineering plan resulted: it called for 418 small headwater reservoirs, 
16 major reservoirs, and elaborate arrangements For the treatment or 
control of polluting effluents. 

Reaction upstream to the 1963 report was adverse. Successive 
further reports and studies scaled down the plan, and by L978 the sole 
active residue is the Bloomington dam plus exploratory work on 
tapping the estuary for municipal water supply. 

Characteristically each user of the river is more concerned with its 
treatment by those upstream than with the needs of those downstream. 
Pollution from acid mine drainage or From pesticides from agricultural 
run-off may threaten sport fishing downstream. But those who fish 
may not welcome regulation that limits their own use of the river. 
Similarly, commercial fishing in the lower estuary of the Potomac can 
be seriously affected by urban pollution, storm drainage, and pesticides 
from upstream, but costs of urban pollution abatement measures are 
often viewed as prohibitively high, or at least of questionable or im- 
proved cost-effectiveness. 

Statutes and programs applicable to the region 

A subject of large scope is the cataloging and analysis of 
findings, legislative enactments, and Federal programs applicable 
to navigable waters in general, or to forests or minerals or farms, or to 
municipalities, the inhabitants, or their roads and other public 

In particular, there are Federal legal findings, and Laws, and Federal 
programs relating to recreation, environmental quality, and the preser- 
vation of esthetic values. The interaction of all these principles and 
programs with the Potomac Basin would be a task exceeding the time 
and energy available for the present stud}'. However, a survi 
relevant situations and topics might conceivably be undertaken, in 
order to identify principal problems and opportunities for further 


The first step in any engineering enterprise is to prepare a status 
report. What is the condition of the total system into which change 
is to be introduced? What are the elements favoring or supporting 
desired change and what elements present obstacles? What is the 
dynamic in the s^ystem? And what are the present directions and rates 
of changes of elements in the system? 

Present resources of the Potomac Basin 

Four sets of resources today contribute to human satisfactions in 
the Basin: physical, political, social, and technological- Among the 
es he river itself with all its tributaries, rates of 

How, pro! , and the edible species that live in it. Other 

physical resources are the soils, minerals, varieties of terrain and 
climate. The political res >urces encompass skills in decisionmaking, a 
comprehensive . and organization along successive tiers 

from Federal to municipal. The social resources include an educated, 
politically experienced, and technologically sophisticated population 
with diverse ethnic, religious, national and cultural backgrounds. 
This population is organized into a myriad of groups for many social 
purposes, some of which relate directly to the use or improvement of 
the Basin and most of which relate to it in some way. The technological 
resources of the Basin include networks of transportation and com- 
municate ' ms, a diversity of housing, and both potential and 
developei es of energy in the form of coal, waterpower, and 


Complexities and variations confronting the analyst 

Four sets of discontinuities complicate Basin, development; like the 
resources, they are physical, political, social, and technological. The 
principal physical discontinuity is the variety of terrain that tends to 
divide the population of the Basin into different segments, with 
widely <! Is, purposes, and customs, which tend 

to diversify thoughl and effort in Basin-wide development or planning. 
Xoi only are th< ked clii i in these factors among the 

four major subregioni of the Basin, bn ithin the ridge-and- 

i of the four State, n sub-region. The varieties of 

political form center on I >f jurisdictions, over- 

[appii cope, differing in inl and conflicting in goals. The 

chert of these disparities is for th ! differing political units, State and 
local, to perceive problems and . ly, ind favor 

different approaches and differei - in their resolution or appli- 

cation. Similarly, there is a social diversity of interests, derived from 
• I ering social responses to d hie setting, and historical 

differences in va tally, there are technological discontinuities 

across the Basin. These appear bo resull from a series of commitments 
to te rose and waned: thi coal mining stripped 

the land of protective cover and rel< d into the northwestern 



tributaries; early tobacc the thin soil of the tide- 

water, and left the land bo revert to thickets and brambles. Whether 
the technology of the internal combustion engine during the nexl 
century will also run its course, and leave behind a waste of useless 
artifacts and costly highways remains bo be scon. However, il is possi- 
ble that toda? cement over water, land, and 
air will not I And certainly the Potomac 
Basin would be a very different setting in the evenl that automobile-, 
trucks, powered farm implements, n • s, and aircraft should be 
replaced by some more advanced technology as they in turn replaced 
steam power, and steam power replaced the horse. 

Actors, actions, and rates of change 

Many different people, "roups, institutions, and political jurisdic- 
tions are doing things to the Potomac River and its drainage basin. 
Although the analyst of this scene is concerned with the aggregate 
effects of the acts of all these actors, the actors themselves need to be 
aware of the consequences of their actions on the region. Incremental 
benefits and incremental injuries happen constantly. 

Such pi us-and -minus effects result from: retention of ground cover, 
lull treatment of sewage and industrial waste, recycle of rural and 
urban solid wastes, sealing of mines, and restoration of stripped lands 
and conversely the run-off of farm pesticides and fertilizers, housing 
starts, mining and industrial operations, urban sewage and waste 
disposal, as well as the effects of logging and clearing, swamp drainage, 
oil spills and disposal of crankcase lubricants, dumping and littering. 

All these different actions are going on all the time, some improving 
and some degrading the Basin environment. It is difficult to estimate 
at any given time whether the cumulative plus effects outweigh the 
cumulative minus effects or vice versa. However, one fact is certain: 
the coordination of beneficial actions, and the coordination of efforts 
to stem or reverse injurious actions, could have a profound effect on 
the relative plus-and-minus rate of change. Moreover, it is also proba- 
ble that the consequences of concerted efforts at Basin betterment, 
however defined, would generate public attitudes that could either 
oppose or reinforce these programs. 

Apparent future prospects for the basin 

It would be worthwhile to examine the probable future course of 
the Potomac Region, on the basis of various assumptions. One such 
assumption might be that, in the future as in the past, concerted cor- 
rective action will not be motivated until a crisis is near at hand, and 
that the actions then taken will be limited in scope to those to avert 
the crisis or mitigate its consequences. 

Another assumption might be that the various programs of Basin 
improvement will be small in scale and unsystematic — and unrelated 
to any general theory or plan of broad regional betterment. 

A third assumption might be that each of the several principal 
political jurisdictions (i.e., State Governments) in the Basin will con- 
tinue to maintain positions calculated to benefit their own constituen- 
cies at the expense of the other residents and jurisdictions in the Basin, 
with the role of the Federal Government as a whole indeterminate, 
while individual agencies pursue their separate and often conflicting 


A related assumption is that the future of the Potomac Basin will 
see no institution created with the competence to plan and the author- 
ity to motivate the implementation of plans for the betterment of the 
region; that public attitudes toward regional goals and projects will 
continue to be splintered; that individual goals and wants will operate 
in conflict with each other and against the general wellbeing of all. 

These are, of course, only assumptions. A contrary, more optimis- 
tic set of assumptions might be offered instead. But a careful analysis 
of present trends projected into several future ''scenarios" might servo 
to motivate political and public willingness to accept a more pro- 
grammed course of action. On the other hand, a scenario calling for a 
systematic and programmed course of action could motivate political 
and public resistance and stiffen the resolution to leave things as they 
are. This may indeed be the central dilemma of the Potomac Basin. 


A first attempt at a Listing of the component studies needed as the 

basic; data for analysis of the prospects Tor the Potomac, Basin is 
offered in this section. In the pl annin g of research projects, the iirsi 
oid line is usually revised many times before and during the conduct 
of the whole study program; it is in that sense that the following 
outline is presented. As the study proceeds ways will be sought and 
comments invited on ways to improve the completeness of the listing 
and the indicated scope and direction of the individual components. 

Toward objectives for the Potomac Basin 

Early in the project there needs to be a thorough examination of its 
objectives — i.e., a cataloging and structuring of objectives for regional 
development of the Potomac Basin. What is sought is a comprehensive 
approach to the achievement of benefits and the reduction of un- 
desirable features. The problem in defining objectives is that different 
groups have different values. A land developer may wish to drain a 
swamp that a nature-lover wants to preserve. A farmer's use of 
pesticides may injure the fishing. And so on. 

Undoubtedly there are some values — if not objectives — that are 
shared by all, such as reduced pollution in the river, an end to 
malodorous sewage systems, available sources of energy for valley 
residents, and healthy systems of agriculture, forestry, industry, and 
employment generally. Acceptable objectives would seem to be those 
that serve such values at least cost to other values of the Basin's 
resources to sport and other entertainment, to esthetic enjoyment, to 
sense of history, and so on. 

Most broad objectives can be subdivided into derivative objectives, 
and these in turn into still more detailed ones. One final product of a 
study of Potomac Basin objectives might be an "objective tree," at 
the ends of whose final branches would be single tasks or projects 
contributing to the succession of objectives. Another product might be 
a matrix analysis, showing the interaction of objectives, and ways in 
which specific tasks can contribute to multiple objectives. 

Futures j or the Potomac Basin 

This topic would identify the key trends and issues controlling the 
future of the Potomac Basin. It would characterize the significant 
variables in these trends and shaping these issues; it would forecast 
directions and probable magnitudes of the variables; and it could use 
these analyses as the basis of a series of alternative scenarios describing 
the Basin in the year 2000 and thereafter. 

Modern trends in regional planning 

In formulating a broad plan for the Potomac Basin it would be 
helpful to have a brief examination of the methodology of regional 
planning as evidenced in three sets of literature, as follows: 
(1) Academic studies in the United States. 



(2) Technical studies and other literature generated by U.S. 

regional commissions. 

(3) Regional speculations produced by OECD and by UN 
agencies and regional commissions. 

Literature of this sort could suggest precepts and criteria useful in 
setting' realistic and acceptable goals and priorities for the Potomac 

Preservation of natural beauty; compatibility of human structures 

A philosophy oi* the conquest of nature by man has been increasingly 
replaced by a new "environmentalist" philosophy of the preservation 
of unspoiled natural beaut}'. It may be that proponents of both 
philosophies tend to overstate their case. To what extent should 
waterways be left as "wild rivers" and to what extent should they be 
clamed for multiple economic and o1 es? 

Similarly, in the management of a large speculative housing de- 
velopment, one school of thought is to remove ell trees, skin off the 
topsoil, and then lay out the houses in an orderly geometrical grid 
with formal landscaping. An opposite school of thought endeavors to 
keep as many trees as possible, contour the houses to land, ami rely 
on nature for much of the subsequent landscaping. 

A third issue involves the use of compatible materials and designs 
of human structures to fit in with their natural surroundings, as 
illustrated by the Frank Lloyd Wright "Falling Water" house. 
Related to this concept is the esthetic principle of the simple use of 
common materials, as illustrated in the Cotswold area of Midland 
England, where golden brown oolitic limestone structures make the 
villages coherent unities. 

What is the relevance of these three issues for the Potomac Basin? 
The implication would seem to be not that some absolute principle of 
esthetic or architectural rigidity should prevail throughout the region, 
but that these issues should be thought about. One very r sal source of 
tension is the conflict in values as between those who Favor untouched 
virgin forest, wild rivers, and raw cliffs, those who favor a tame 
landscape with penned lakes, grasslands, flowers, and neat pathways. 
There is no absolute resolution of this tension hut respect for these 
differing sets of values is necessary. By the same token, attention to 
the esthetic quality of man's impact on nature is also economically 
significant. What the roles of planning and cooperation should be must 
ultimately be determined by those 1 who live in the region. But the 
decision should he an informed one. 

Past plans for tic Potomac 

An inventory should la- assembled of general and special studie ol 
the Potomac Basin, or of parts of the Basin, or of uses o\' some <"• all 
natural resources of the i^esin, or of human ml is with the Basin. 

For each study there should i indication of scope, rationale, 

history, manager, methodology, observations, conclusions, rec< 
mendations, and subsequent impacts. The inventory should extend 
from L785 to 1975. 

Tins inventory should he more than a mere catalog. An essential 
feature of the project should he an analysis of the changing emphasis 
over lime, from one study lo another, ...'id the differences in studies 
reflecting the chronological evolution of technical though! concerning 
regional development . 


Present Potomac planners 

This topic would consist of an inventory of Federal and Stale 
governmental agencies, boards, commissions, and councils, and Fed- 
eral, State and local political jurisdictions sharing planning or opera- 
tional responsibilities for natural resource-human relationships in the 
Potomac Basin. For each item, there should be an indication (to the 
extent appropriate) of the following elements: how created, and ju- 
risdictions, organizational resources, accomplishments, public accept- 
ance, and future prospects. 

In order to define the institutional resources available to implement 
whatever course is discovered to be desired by a consensus of people 
in the Potomac Basin, an inventory of centers of political decision- 
making seems an appropriate starting point. The alternatives for 
implementation would seem to be, either the coordinated use of some 
or all of these centers of political decisionmaking in present systems, the 
creation of some new system, or acceptance of a status quo in which no 
coherent resort to implementing authority is accepted. Accordingly, 
an inventory of the institutional resources of government potentially 
available to make decisions and implement courses of action is a 
necessary starting point in any regional planning effort. 

Overview and commentary on issues of the Potomac Basin 

What are the principal issues relative to the evaluation, develop- 
ment, use, or conservation of the resources in the Potomac River 
Basin? It seems desirable to have available a reference study of these 
issues, perhaps catalogued according to the following outline : 

(1) The issue defined, 

(2) Significance of the issue, 

(3) Interactions of the issue with other factors and issues, 

(4) Quantitative elements of the issue, 

(5) Past trends in the evolution of the issue, 

(6) Future prospects for the issue, 

(7) Options in resolving the issues; for each: 

(a) description, 

(b) qualitative costs and benefits, 

(c) opinions respecting, 

(d) brief commentary. 

The issues themselves would include such items as the following 
(although the list is far from complete) : 

Potable water in the Washington metropolitan area (alternatives), 

Pollution from urban run-off, 

Sewage and sludge disposal, 

Siltation from land development, 

Agricultural run-off pollution, 

Afforestation of marginal lands and upgrading of woodlands, 

Acid mine drainage, 

Control of heavy metals and other toxic substances as pollutants, 

Public access to the waterfront areas, 

Land use in the Basin, 

Protection and restoration of historic sites, 

Strip mine management, 

Small tributary pollution problems, 

Responsibility for whole-basin planning, 

Division of management responsibility in the Basin, 


Wild river versus flow stabilization, 

Non-use, or single use, versus multiple-use of resources, 

Adequacy of resource surveys, 

Holistic planning versus incremental planning for Basin develop- 
ment and use, 

Economic maximization versus balanced economic/social versus 
social maximization, 

Cost of estuary channel maintenance, etc., v. siltation control, 

Flood control aspects. 

An inventory of Federal, State, and selected local laws affecting the 
Potomac Basin 

A brief account should be prepared of each Federal statute address- 
ing the Potomac Basin, per se, including legislative histoiy, abstract 
of provisions, and significant relations to other statutes. 

Similar accounts should be prepared for the laws of the States of 
Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania addressing the 
Potomac Basin directly or indirectly, followed by a matrix analysis of 
key features compared for the major jurisdictions in the Basin, plus 
an analysis of the relations and important interactions of Federal ver- 
sus State laws. 

There might also be collected an annotated set of particularly im- 
portant city, county, and small community ordinances affecting the 
Potomac river and its environs, with a commentary on their relations 
with State and Federal statutes, for selected key or representative 
local jurisdictions. 

Finally, it would be desirable to have in being a general commentary 
on the coherence and effectiveness of present legal arrangements 
affecting the Potomac Basin. 

A compendium oj Federal lavjs and constitutional cases defining present 
authorities and policies of the Federal Government toward water, land 
resources, and human activities and their management in river basins 
This would consist of an index and analysis of statutes and cases in 
Federal law that would be applicable to any Federal initiative address- 
ing the water, land, resources, or human uses of the Potomac Basin. 
This index might be accompanied by a commentary on the evolution 
of political thought and values as evidenced by the changes in law 
over time, and a tabulation of options for Federal approaches to man- 
agement of the Potomac Basin as indicated by existing Federal law. 

Programs of Federal departments and agencies affect ing the Potomac 

This topic calls for an inventory of Federal programs affecting the 
control and use of water, land, and other resources of the Potomac 
Basin. For each program, there would be an indication of legislative 
authority, typical funding available, scope and purpose, histoiy and 
measure of past achievement, and future plans. 

A separate section would assess interactions, coordination, and com- 
pleteness of Federal programs, and summarize costs, effectiveness, and 
genera] impact of the totality of Federal programs. 

Consideration might be given to inviting the General Accounting 
Office to prepare B study under this rubric, as a contribution to the 
project. Their qualifications to undertake an assignment like this would 
be incomparable. 


The history of the Potomac and its basin 

This heading calls for a bibliographical summary, chronologically 
abstracting the principal historical books, essays, technical reports, 
journal articles, and source documents giving the main features of the 
Basin's history. 

A feature of the study could be a series of large maps 4 of the Basin, 
posting sites of recorded events by time periods, perhaps as follows: 

Pre-history to 1500; 1501 to 1700; 1701 to 1785; 1786 to 1820; 
1820 to 1860; 1860 to 1866; 1867 to 1900; 1901 to 1920; 1920 to 
It might be appropriate to invite the Library of Congress to co- 
operate with the Congressional Research Service in the planning and 
execution of this part of the study. A photographic section might also 
be considered. 

Impacts oj water quality on the quality of life 

Several approaches are necessary to deal with the complex subject 
of the social consequences of water quality. One necessary approach 
is an analysis of the process by which water quality is progressively 
degraded. According to this process, successive levels of degradation 
in w^ater quality impose increasing economic and social costs, make 
more difficult the process of restoration, and encourage further pollu- 
tion. Thus, costs of potable water rise, industrial uses require pre- 
treatment, adjacent property values decline, health effects become 
more serious, esthetic values diminish, commercial fishing becomes 
unprofitable, tourism declines, and even local recreation use is denied. 
These effects together affect adversely the tax base and make less 
feasible the use of tax revenues to construct sewage treatment facilities, 
reduce storm runoff, correct acid mine drainage, and to take other 
necessary measures. Moreover, the need for tax revenues encourages 
laxity in applying regulation to control industrial pollution, to restrict 
land development practices causing erosion and silt run-off, and to 
restrain polluting uses of the river by boaters, and riverside residents, 
and farmers. Thus, the process yields greater costs and diminishes 
ability to pay the costs of restoration. 

It is also necessary to characterize the reverse process of correction 
as a progressive operation, in which each stage of improvement tends 
to reinforce and strengthen the ability to achieve further improvement. 

And finally, the economic and social costs associated with the two 
progressive processes — of deterioration and improvement of water 
quality — need to be assessed. These bear directly on the quality of 
life in such ways as the following: denial of recreation facilities to local 
people, increased cost of potable water, injury to health, esthetic 
costs, conflict between upstream and downstream users and residents, 
increased costs and scarcity of good foods, loss of employment oppor- 
tunity, and encouragement of careless use of land and water alike. 

Geologic resources of the Potomac Drainage Basin 
This topic would deal with such subjects as follows: 

Geographic organization of the Potomac Basin into four sub- 
regions, as follows: 

* The reverse side of each map could describe in greater detail the events located on the 
map, Avith cross-reference to the appropriate abstracts in the text. 


Tidewater : Maryland — Virginia — D .C. 
Upper Main Stream: Maryland — Virginia- 
Northwest subregion: West Virginia, Maryland, Penn- 
Shenandoah subregion : Parts of central Virginia and a small 
portion of West Virginia: 

Coal resources for an energy-hungry nation (problems 

and opportunities). 
Met allies, 

Shale for cement-making, 
Limestone and silica, 
Building stone, sand and gravel, 
Rock formations as water storage, 
Soils for crops, forage, and forests, 
Problems of siltation, 

Historical geology — fossils and interesting formations, 
Geology that shapes the river and its basin, and its 

Archeological resources of historic and prehistoric 
cultures in the Basin. 

Fish, crabs, oysters, and other valuables 

The concept of this topic is to encompass the activities and products 
of commercial fishing and sport fishing as competing (and sometimes 
disruptive) activities on the river; the study should address the 
problems and opportunities relating to marine resources that good 
management of the river and its basin could deal with. The study 
should locate productive sections of the river and its tributaries, by 
time periods, giving quantitative data on catches where possible. 
The record should also show where marine life is too contaminated to 
be safe for food, and show trends in this defect by time periods. Natural 
pollution (e.g., Hurricane Agnes) should be dealt with. Attention 
should be given to both spawning and harvesting areas. Projection of 
trends and their effects on marine life should be discussed to the extent 
feasible. The economics of commercial fishing in the lower estuary 
should be evaluated in comparison with sport fishing and related 
recreation throughout the entire Basin. Attention should be given to 
the interaction of fishing with agriculture, witli particular reference 
to the effects of run-off containing silt and pesticides. What has been 
and might be the role of the Bureau of Land Management or the Soil 
Conservation Service in this regard? How 'nave the States dealt with 
this matter? What Federal and State programs have been instituted 
to enhance the value of fish catches and the availability of sport 
fishing in the Basin? 

Agricultvre in the basin 

This studv could identify opportunities for improved agricultural 
practice in the Potomac Basin. What actually is grown in the four 
sub-regions of the Basin? What could be grown? What are the quanti- 
tative facts and qualitative characteristics of Basin farmers? What 
general problems are encountered, and what might he done generally 
to enhance Basin agriculture (in the way that TVA enhanced agri- 
culture in the Tennessee Valley by emphasizing phosphate fertilizer)? 
How good are marketing arrangements and facilities? Do food con- 
sumption patterns in principal metropolitan areas in and near the 


Basin act favorably on farming, and do farmers serve these areas 
with truck? What major cash crops docs the regions support, and arc 
there other crops that warrant attention? How much farm land should 

(technically) revert to forest, and what forested land is cultivable? 
What happens if tobacco land becomes uneconomic — how much 
tobacco is grown (product, acreage, and number of farms) in the 
Basin? What circumstances and [actors determine and govern the 
competition for farm land to be converted into urban and suburban 
developments or other intensive uses, and with what consequences for 
the Basin? Is prime agricult ural land being converted into subdivisions? 
What assessment might be made of "no-till" cultivation to strengthen 
Basin agriculture? How serious an issue is agricultural run-off and 
siltation, or pesticide and fertilizer pollution from agriculture that 
impacts on water quality? How might agriculture and water manage- 
ment be best brought into harmony? 

Forests and forestry in the basin 

The major part of the Potomac Basin (nearly two-thirds) is in 
woodland, yet wood industries contribute only a negligible part of 
the income of the Basin. How effective are forestry programs in the 
Basin and what more might be done? How much of the WT>od acreage 
is in good quality timber, apart from areas reserved for camping, 
State parks, nature reserves, and the like? What is the relationship 
between the geography of the Basin and the kinds of forest growth now 
being supported? What different zones are there, and what w~ould be 
the optimum pattern of forest growth for each zone? What sort 
of program might maximize the utility of present and prospective 
forestry practice, in terms of multiple use (to grow timber, stabilize 
run-off, control soil erosion, enlarge recreational areas and useage, 
provide source material for small local industries e.g., Christmas tree 
growing and increase the diversity of fruit and nut products)? What 
marketing practices and facilities might improve the economics of 
upland orchards? Exploration by 'a competent analyst of questions 
like these could point the way to major improvement in the economy 
of the Basin. 

Recreation and entertainment, along the river and in the basin 

Three sorts of ecological entertainment are involved: those that 
make use of the waters, the mountains, the caves, the forest, for 
entertainment (e.g., cave exploring); those that the ecology enhances 
or permits (e.g., country music festivals); and those to wdiich the 
ecology is irrelevant (e.g., television programs). 

The third category of recreation can still be considered in terms of 
its impacts on the environment of the Basin. The second category 
has particular reference to activities most characteristic of parts 
of the Basin, like horse shows and hunts, auctions, antique and 
craft fairs, art shows, and the like; these help to give the regions its 
character, attract visitors, and bring the local people together. Most 
important, however, is the first category with its myriad of examples: 
fishing, crabbing, sailing, in the lower estuary ; swimming, sailing, water 
skiing, canoeing, and bird watching on lower bays and inlets; rafting, 
boating, slack and white water canoeing, fishing, swimming, and 
numerous other aquatic activities on the upper main stem and major 
tributaries; sport fishing on smaller streams; visits to innumerable 
historical places and battle sites; hiking, camping, bicycling, touring, 


nature walks, rock hounding, rock climbing, winter skiing and other 
snow sports in the mountains and uplands. Archeological exploration 
throughout the entire Basin is an important and expanding interest. 

Perhaps an effective way of portraying these many forms of enter- 
tainment afforded by the Potomac Basin might be to present a series 
of maps of the Basin indicating places where these activities are en- 
joyed. Or possibty a series of transparent overlays, showing in a cumu- 
lative way the rich opportunity for recreation in the Basin. 

Analysis of these activities should take notice of the economic 
aspects of some forms of recreation, but also of conflicts between 
different kinds of use (for example, as between speed boating and water 
skiing on the one hand and fishing or canoeing on the other; or as 
between auto touring and bicycling, or the use of motorcycles on 
hiking trails). In a large area like the Basin, room can be found for 
many different sports and recreation, so that they need not conflict 
but adjustment of this kind implies careful planning and a willingness 
to compromise. 

What strands tie the basin together? 

The hypothesis of a geographic regional approach to the manage- 
ment of resources is that there are commonalities of interests through- 
out the region, shared values, and actual physical linkages. The 
waterway and its drainage system that define the Potomac Basin is 
one such linkage. Others are a shared National Government, a com- 
mon highway system, postal system, telephone, radio and television, 
weather forecasting, newspapers, magazines, churches, fraternal 
orders, etc., etc. An inventory of these natural, technological, and 
social linkages shared by the people who live in the Basin might help 
to show how a regional system might be designed and presented to 
them in an acceptable way. 

The discussion of linkages might be counterpoised against a dis- 
cussion of the elements that can operate to divide or separate the 
residents in different parts of the Basin, with respect to their conflict- 
ing values, interests, goals, life styles, and other factors. 

Who are the people and what do they want? 

A central aspect of the Basin is the anthropology of the present day. 
A study is needed about the various groups of people who live in the 
region, with attention to such factors as the following: 
When arrived in the Basin, 
Ethnic backgrounds, 

Commitments to the ecology, 
Social linkages: 

Mobility (in and out of the Basin), 
Dependence on Basin resources, 


Prospects for change in factors (and discussion of past changes), 
Orientation : 
to the past, 
to the future external, 
to the Basin. 
What relationships are there between people and the sub-regions 
within the Basin (i.e., estuary, upper main stem, small tributaries, 
northwestern subregion, the Shenandoah Valley and the several 
mountainous areas)? What particular changes would people in these 
various sub-regions favor or oppose, and why? What are their per- 
sonal aspirations and to what extent are they generally shared? 

Possibly the organization of this study should include a general 
overview, followed by separate discussion of the views and wants of 
the people in the separate subregions, as follows: 
Shenandoah Subregion (all Va.), 
Northwest Subregion (W. Va., Penna, Md.), 
Upper main stem Subres:ion (Md., Va.), 
Tidewater (Md., Va, D.C.). 

Impacts of man; structures, industries and sprawl 

Over the years man's presence in the Potomac Basin has worked 
many changes. The purpose of the study should not be to view with 
alarm and dismay or condemn the actions of the past. A straight- 
forward factual account of the changes in the Basin, in terms of the 
following factors, consequent on man's settlement, movement, re- 
source exploitation, and other uses, should be presented: 

Quality of water, 


Animal life, land and aquatic, 

Air quality, 

Agricultural productivity, 

Without assigning values to these changes, it should still be possible 
to indicate probable future trends in these same factors. 

What are the options in the total management of the basin? 

A region can be managed in an infinite number of different ways : by 
leaving everything to chance and the marketplace, by rigid control 
over all uses of land and water, and by various intermediate degrees 
of control or motivating influences. The precise degree of control to 
be achieved might perhaps be balanced against individual and com- 
munity freedom of choice to enable resolution of conflict by compro- 
mise in the selection of courses of action yielding the optimum benefit 
to all. 

_ The principles that would seem applicable to achieve a total rational 
distribution of costs and benefits relating to all the resources of the 
Potomac Basin are the following: 

(1) Total participation of all people in the Basin in decisions 
affecting the whole Basin. 

(2) Proportional voice of affected groups in accordance with 
severity of impact of decisions. 

(3) Federal assistance to ease the local severity of impacts of 
decisions affecting the whole Basin. 


(4) State assistance to ease the local severity of impacts of 
decisions affecting areas within single States. 

(5) Professional planning and studies iteratively conducted to 
achieve optimum effectiveness in the total pattern of resources 
of the entire Basin. 

(6) Systematic education and open discussion of all compre- 
hensive plans. 

(7) Provision of compensatory benefits generously extended to 
overmatch costs to particular affected groups of generalized 
Basin or subregional programs. 

(8) Maintenance of performance standards to provide a model 
of excellence for the future. 

(9) Rate of change to be considered of less significance than 
direction of change. 

(10) Irreversible decisions to warrant much closer scrutiny and 
public approval than reversible decisions. 

In the implementing of these principles, it would also seem necessary 
to decide on a workable system to determine the actual desires of the 
people in the Basin. Today decisionmaking is divided among a host 
of Federal agencies, agencies of four States and the District of Colum- 
bia, parts or all of 21 counties and many muncipal jurisdictions, 
various other political subdivisions, commissions, and the like, and 
innumerable voluntary associations and groups. 

There is no single authoritative voice to ascertain or express the will 
of the entire Basin, or to apply the ten principles suggested above. 

It would seem desirable that all interested elements should have a 
voice in the planning and the decisionmaking, but also that the end 
product should be a comprehensive, workable, and equitable plan of 
action for the entire region. Achievement of this general goal, however, 
implies both the need for great political skill and a willingness to 
achieve progress slowly. 

What are the costs, who pays them, and what do they get in return? 

The essence of the political process is the determining of "who gets 
what, when, where, how?" "What" one gets may be a benefit or a cost. 
The process of planning is the achievement of an equitable and durable 
assessment of costs and benefits; the process of politics is the achieve- 
ment of acceptance by the affected public of the proposed assessment 
and its consequences. 

Accordingly, the thrust of this topic should be an analysis of the 
interface between the planners and the politicians, and an exploration 
of mechanisms by which costs and benefits are defined and calculated. 

What rewards accrue to the entire Nation from a well-planned river basin 
The point of this topic is that a Federal program to encourage and 
support an activity located within one geographic part of the Nation 
needs to be shown to be beneficial to the whole Nation in a degree 
commensurate -with its cost to the whole Nation. A thorough exami- 
nation is accordingly needed of all potential costs and benefits to the 
entire Nation of regional development and river basin development in 
general, and of development of the Potomac Basin in particular. Why 
should the citizen of Illinois, or California, or Hawaii, for example, 
have a -take in programs to develop the Potomac Basin, or any of its 


sub-regions? What constraints on Federal participation in tlie planning 
process and in the support for the implementation of plans are implied 
by the need for benefits to be nationwide as well as region-^ 

Step by step approaches to basin betterment 

The scheduling of change in a region presents many interesting 
challenges. Even if one assumes the existence of a well-thought-out, 
comprehensive, and politically acceptable plan for the region, there 
still remains the matter of scheduling its implementation. A study of 
this problem is an essential element of the overall analysis of Potomac 
Basin development. 

Among the considerations governing the scheduling of projects are 
at least the following: 

(1) Distribution of local and subregional projects timed to 
extend emplo}^ment opportunities, other economic benefits from 
construction, and benefits from completed projects on an equitable 
geographic basis. 

(2) Technical scheduling of related projects. 

(3) Priority to projects that arrest conditions currently re- 
sulting in injury to the Basin — especially if irreversible. 

(4) Initial scheduling of projects judged most acceptable to 
those affected. 

(5) Early scheduling of projects returning most substantial 
rewards (economic or other) to the entire Nation. 

(6) Balanced scheduling so that the total portfolio of projects 
underway at any one time is demonstrably cost/effective. 

(7) Total rate of progress to be manageable in terms of its use of 
resources, and also in terms of possible temporarily adverse 
impacts on the environment, inconvenience to local groups 
nearby, and other political stresses. 

(8) Rate of progress on individual projects to be such as to 
minimize intensity or duration of adverse effects of the projects 
on local communities. 

Analysis of the interaction of various scheduling factors is also 
important. Frequently, benefits will be aggregative, or will be balanced 
against concurrent costs; but benefits to one group do not necessarily 
result in general acceptance when there are concurrent costs to another 
group. The principles involved in such balancing need to be explored 


It is envisioned that upon completion of the series of individual 
studies and reports listed in the preceding chapter of this Prospectus, 
a final report on the entire CRS Potomac Basin Study will be as- 
sembled. Its outline will be somewhat alons: the following lines: 

Format of final report, CRS Potomac Basin study 

The final report will consist of four sections. The first will be intro- 
ductory material, restatement of the problem, a resume of the con- 
text and a formal description of the Potomac Basin as the subject of 
the study. 

The second section will recapitulate briefly in sequence the indi- 
vidual studies in the project. 

The third section will consist of a series of cross-cutting analyses, 
as enumerated below, in which all pertinent facts and observations 
assembled in the individual studies will be brought to bear on ap- 
proximately six topics. 

The fourth and final section of the report will gather together the 
principal conclusions, observations, and legislative options derived 
from the entire Project. 

Proposed cross-cutting studies 

A useful research device is the drawing from each of the studies in 
the series those common elements that warrant special attention. A 
series of essays dealing with a number of these common elements is 
envisioned. It is not useful to attempt to forecast this second series 
of elements in advance, because they ought to evolve out of the pro- 
ject itself. Accordingly, the following six elements are offered merely 
as illustrative of the process. 

1 . Data Base For Planning 

Contents: An essay identifying the quantitative factual data tabula- 
tions in the series of studies, together with conclusions and observa- 
tions as to their significance, and suggestions as to other data series 
that would be helpful in planning the development of the region. 

2. Implications For The Future 

Contents: An essay rendering coherent all the future-oriented data, 
observations, projections, and conclusions of the study series. 

3. Opportunities, Dangers, Motivations 

Contents: An essay on motivational factors derived from the study 
series. Basicalty, it would seek to answer the questions "why?" and 
"why not?" Emphasis in the discussion of opportunities would be on 
the advantages resulting from new initiatives — gains that would 
require new action. Emphasis in the discussion of dangers would be on 
irreversible adverse consequences both of the unchanged present 
courses of action and on those changes proposed that might invite new, 



irreversible, adverse consequences. The discussion of motivations 
might take the form of a matrix analysis of different groups and 
categories of beneficiaries and the potential benefits accruing to ei ch 
as the outcome of a comprehensive program. 

4. Issues To Be Resolved 

Contents: An essay collecting from the study series an orderly 
arrangement of the major issues discussed, identified, or suggested by 
the study series. The commentary on individual issues might take such 
a form as the following: 

Statement of the issue, 

The issue discussed, 

How it arose, 

Significance of the issue, 

Responsibility for its resolution, 

Options and their consequences. 

5. Legislative and Administrative Options 

Contents: Two lists, identifying (1) legislative initiatives to effect 
actions toward the identified goals for the Potomac Basin, and (2) 
administration programs or actions, pursuant to existing legislative 
authorities, to effect results contributing toward these same goals. 

6. Priorities Of The Public and The Experts 

Contents: An essay contrasting the criteria applied by the public 
with those employed by the "experts" in regional planning and 
development, and then contrasting the public's perceived priorities 
with those of various professional groups (agriculture, forestry, 
minerals, hydrology, land use, civil engineering, environment, etc.). 
Possibly to be followed by one or more suggested priority systems, 
based on explicit hypotheses, that reconcile views of the public with 
those of the "experts," taken together. 



A plan for development of a region is of no substance until it lias 
received (a) the approval of those persons affected by its implementa- 
tion, (b) the approval of those persons whose efforts are required for 
its execution, (c) the approval of the political decisionmakers having 
jurisdiction over all or parts of the affected region, and (d) the legis- 
lative authority and financial support necessary to complete the 
planned program of action. In short, a plan for the building of a con- 
sensus is the first phase of an action plan for development of a region. 

The building of a consensus, in turn, would seem to require a com- 
prehensive understanding of the attitudes and wants of those persons 
in the first three of the four categories listed in the preceding para- 
graph. The motivations required for four sets of approvals need to be 
identified and built into the design of the action plan. Moreover, it is 
not enough that a majority of the people and institutions of the entire 
Basin reach a consensus on the major issues in question. Each of the 
major subsystems of the Basin would need to achieve a consensus on 
the issues of primary concern to them. And, indeed, the consensus of 
affected groups in local areas affected by particular issues may be 

Another requirement is that all interested parties be made fully 
aware of those features of the plan of primary concern to each party, 
why these features are considered important, the relation of each im- 
portant feature to the total plan, and why the effective interaction of 
all such elements of the plan is essential to the achievement of gen- 
erally accepted goals. 

Finally to the extent that substantial Federal support and activity 
was called for, the acceptance of the plan by a national constituency 
should probably comprise a separate element of the action plan. 



Correspondence Concerning the Projected CKS Study of Regional 
Planning for the Potomac Basin 

The Library of Congress, 
Congressional Research Service, 

Washington, B.C., May 27, 1077. 
Hon. Thomas F. Eagleton, 
U.S. Senator, 
Washington, B.C. 

Dear Senator Eagleton: This is my reply to your joint letter of 
May 20, in which you call for a major, long-term project by the 
Congressional Research Service to : | 

"Examine the circumstances that make the Potomac a wasting 
resource, ascertain the forces that operate to improve or worsen its 
social value, and identify long range legislative initiatives to coalesce 
and activate the forces for its betterment." 

The goal set forth in your letter is an open-ended one : 

"To set in train a process that could operate for a century, 
steadily improving the entire Potomac Basin from headwaters to estu- 
ary, toward the goal of a clean and living symbol of beauty and 
environmental quality for all the Nation to enjoy." 

In your letter you asked me to (a) indicate my acceptance of the 
task on behalf of CRS, (b) describe my plans for the assignment of 
responsibility for preparation of the prospectus delineating the project, 
and (c) assess the feasibility and desirability of undertaking it. 

My acceptance, for CRS, of the project is unhesitating. We will 
proceed at once. 

With respect to the assignment of responsibility for the task, it is 
evident at the outset that it will involve a number of divisions of CRS; 
at a minimum these will include : Environmental Policy ; Science Policy 
Research; Government; American Law; Economics. Accordingly, 
I have asked Dr. Franklin P. Huddle, a senior specialist, to coordinate 
the planning and to direct the project as my personal representative. 

Dr. Huddle's qualifications for this assignment are as follows: 
credentials as senior specialist in science and technology, doctorate 
in political science, widely published in regional development topics, 
and CRS experience with four major projects over the past decade. 
(These have been the study Technical Information for Congress; 
National Science and Technology Policy; Science, Technology, and 
American Biplomacy; and National Materials Policy.) 

I propose to interest myself in this project to the extent permitted 
by the other claims on my time. I think you will agree that this project 
will be breaking new ground as far as the Congressional Research 
Service is concerned. If we are able to carry it off at the high pro- 
fessional level stipulated in your letter of May 20, it will demonstrate 



a new dimension in service to the Congress as well as a contribution 
to the management and governance of an important national resource. 

There can be no question as to the desirability of the goal set forth 
in your letter of May 20. I am confident it is one we all share. 

Whether the high aspiration of a century of progress is feasible, 
I suggest, will depend on many imponderables that lie outside of our 
professional competence to foresee. However, I am unaware at this 
time of any reason why the project is infeasible. Because it is open- 
ended, the project calls for steady, sustained advance at an unspecified 
rate. Manifestly, the rate of progress ought to be sufficient to stimulate, 
encourage, reward, and sustain the participants. In the development of 
our prospectus we will give attention to this requirement. 

And finally, I undertake to assure you of our deep interest in the 
task you have requested. The prospectus will be in your hands by the 
close of summer, 1977. 
Most sincerely, 

Gilbert Gude, 
Director, Congressional Research Service. 

U.S. Sexate, 
Committee on Governmental Affairs, 

Washington, B.C., May 20, 1977. 
Hon. Gilbert Gude, 
Director, Congressional Research Service, 
Library of Congress, 
Washington, D.C. 

Dear Mr. Gude: We would like to request that the Congressional 
Research Service consider a broad indepth study of ways to achieve 
the total betterment of the Potomac River Basin. "Washington, our 
Capital, is the major metropolitan center occupjung a key position 
astride the River at the fall line. The deterioration or improvement of 
the water quality; the direction of growth; and, the social and eco- 
nomic development of the entire Potomac valley are of utmost sig- 
nificance to the Capital and the Nation. 

Since the mid 1930's, the Potomac River, flowing near the heart of 
the city, has deteriorated in quality. Many individuals and groups 
have attempted to reverse the trend. There has been a plethora of 
studies and projects dealing with one or another of the Potomac's 
many problems. But, for whatever reasons, the results have not given 
us a clean river, an estheticaUy sound and benign environment, a safe 
and healthy recreational facility, or an assured quality of potable 

We request that CRS examine the circumstances thai make the 
Potomac a wasting resource, ascertain the forces that operate to 
improve or to worsen its social value, and identify longrange Legisla- 
tive initiatives to coalesce and activate the Forces foe its betterment. 

It is overly optimistic to hope for an instant solution to a problem 
that has been decades in the making. Our thought is to set in train a 
process that could operate for a century, steadily improving the entire 
Potomac Basil] from headwaters to estuary, toward the goal of a clean 
and living symbol of beauty and environmental quality for all the 
\at ion to enjoy. Such a study must he a careful, deliberate, and many- 
Bided examination of the total Basin problem. We understand such a 


project will require a sustained effort of as long: as three or more years, 
enlisting the services of experts in CRS and from the scientific and 
technical community as appropriate. 

The long- time-span suggested for the project reflects our concept 
that the project will be built up from separate studies by different 
authors or groups, with each study allowed to mature at its own pace, 
before being integrated into a final overall report. We recognize that 
the duration of the total project must relate to the number of indi- 
vidual studies undertaken. Accordingly, since we desire the entire 
project to be comprehensive and thorough, we should insist that it 
not be pushed to meet an early deadline. 

We hope that a prospectus for this project be prepared and sup- 
plied to us by September 1977; after we have examined and discussed 
the project with you and your participating staff, a further determina- 
tion will be made as to required support and possible supplemental 
funding required to complete it. In addition, we wish to be assured 
that all relevant elements of the Executive Branch stand ready to 
cooperate to the fullest extent in the conduct of the project. An 
enumeration of such participation should be a part of the prospectus. 

May we hear from you as to your acceptance of this undertaking, 
your proposed assignment of responsibility for preparing the prospec- 
tus, and your general assessment as to the feasibility and desirability 
of the project? 

Charles McC. Mathias, Jr., 

U.S. Senator. 
Thomas F. Eagleton, 

U.S. Senator. 




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